Sale: 525 / Evening Sale, Dec. 10. 2021 in Munich Lot 242

 

242
Gerhard Richter
11.4.89, 1989.
Oil on paper, originally mounted on board
Estimate:
€ 70,000 / $ 79,100
Sold:
€ 200,000 / $ 225.999

(incl. surcharge)
11.4.89. 1989.
Oil on paper, originally mounted on board.
Signed and dated on the backing board. 29.8 x 42 cm (11.7 x 16.5 in), the full sheet.

• For the first time offered on the international auction market.
• From the versatile creative period of the 1980s, which was decisive for Richter's abstract painting.
• Color turns matter in this work- Richter puts emphasis on the haptical treatment of the color
.

We are grateful to Dr. Dietmar Elger for his kind expert advice.

PROVENANCE: Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich.
Private collection (acquired directly from the above).



At the time this work was created, Gerhard Richter had been creating his free "abstract pictures" for almost a decade. After the photographic images in grayscale, color cards and other works from the 1960s, the artist turned to gestural abstraction in the mid-1970s, knowing that it would enable him to make a "truthful" representation of reality like figurative painting. The two modes are closely linked - all art is a kind of abstraction, as it opens up a basically fictional window to the world. Richter was looking for a third way between realism and non-representationalism. A first approach took him to painting over photographs. In the "Vermalungen" (Inpaintings) from 1971 he worked out the structure of the color as a means of expression by making the process of mixing the colors and the movement of the brush on the canvas the subject of his painting. Since first approaches to abstraction in the 1960s, it has become a leitmotif of Richter's work. In 2020, when the artist announced the end of his painterly work, the abstract pictures made up his most extensive group of works.
The first international successes were achieved in the mid-1980s, the abstract pictures were acquired by international museums. In 1986 Richter's first museum retrospective took place. The 1980s, in which the work offered here was created, were decisive for the development of his abstract painting. He intensified the examination of the non-representational imagery and explored new ways to let painting assume control. In his "abstract pictures" the focus is on the painting process and the color is discovered as matter. Working on paper allows Richter to paint more freely than on canvas - the artist describes the process as "more impulsive", which leads to "more intimate" results "closer to one's own feelings" (G. Richter, interview with Anna Tilroe, 1987, in D. Elger and H.-U. Obrist, Gerhard Richter. Text 1961 bis 2007, 2008, p. 198). What is special about the sheet "11.4.89" is how Richter worked with the texture of the color, through the rather monochrome color he even puts it in the foreground. Richter hands over artistic control to the medium of color: as it is the case in the work in front us, by copying a pastose color structure onto the paper. This work process creates amorphous structures that give the work a relief-like, fragile character and also add a haptic element to the composition. The color relief shows an abstract, material-related treatment of the color, so that the result always testifies to the process of its creation. Richter never conceived his figurative and abstract pictorial strategies as opposing positions, especially in his abstract works there is always a reference to the natural model. An association with leaves and plants can‘t be dismissed and seems quite legitimate, because for Richter "[..] any section of nature [..] is a constant requirement, and a model for my pictures "(quoted from: D. Elger, Natur und Material. Landschaftliche Abstraktion, in: Gerhard Richter Abstraktion, ex. cat. Museum Barberini, Potsdam, June 30 - October 21, 2020, p. 150). He accepts the emergence of figurative forms in his abstract works. The dark tonality of the composition "11.4.89" is particularly eye-catching, as it contrasts with the strongly colored palette of his early abstract pictures. It is probably an echo of the grayscale of the photo images and also dominates large-format oil paintings such as "January", "December" and "November" from the same year of origin, which are in possession of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Here Richter put sole focus on the dynamics of the color, playing with the vertical undulations that determine the composition. The dendritic colors that stretch across the sheet in a strong light-dark contrast, is reflected in a kind of negative form in the relief-like color peaks. The composition can be explored like a map and manifests Richter's genius in constantly developing new forms of expression through color alone. [SM]



242
Gerhard Richter
11.4.89, 1989.
Oil on paper, originally mounted on board
Estimate:
€ 70,000 / $ 79,100
Sold:
€ 200,000 / $ 225.999

(incl. surcharge)